UN Women is a leading supporter of efforts towards ensuring that national planning, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation processes incorporate a gender perspective. UN Women's GRB programmes at cross regional, regional and country level have made significant contribution towards this by building political support, developing technical resources and capacity, generating good practices for improving women's access to services and increasing accountability to gender equality. The programmes have also launched partnerships with UN agencies and other development partners and resulted in increased support for GRB around the world. GRB initiatives supported by UN Women are continuously cited at high level policy forums and have been instrumental in building alliances with strategic stakeholders including the European Commission, OECD, UN agencies and the Commonwealth Secretariat among others.
UN Women's approach to GRB has focused on introducing strategic and sustainable changes into budgetary processes. This approach has been pursued by assisting governments to introduce measures for incorporating gender into their public finance management systems, and building the capacity of planning and budgeting officers to apply GRB with a view to ensure that budget policies and outcomes are gender-responsive. This approach also emphasizes the importance of bringing gender equality advocates, parliamentarians and other stakeholders into the budgeting process.
UN Women’s work builds on the extensive support and programming carried out by UNIFEM during the period 2001-2010.
GRB PROGRAMMING AT REGIONAL, NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVEL
UN Women's programming on GRB consists of a portfolio of cross-regional, regional and country level programmes. The cross-regional programmes on GRB were formulated with the vision that they would support piloting and knowledge building on GRB and generate approaches and lessons for mainstreaming gender in national budgeting processes. These cross regional programmes have set the foundation for expanded regional and country level programming on GRB.
The main regional programming is found in Latin America where UN Women has been working in partnership with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and CEPAL (with support from the government of Spain) to implement various projects to strengthen policy response to women's unpaid work and support women's role in participatory budgeting processes at local level. In recent years, CEE launched extensive GRB programming with a regional programme implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Moldova. In 2009, UN Women offices in Asia Pacific and Arab States convened in Bangkok to develop a coherent regional strategy for GRB. Finally, the Africa Region has issued the first draft of its regional GRB strategy.
At national level, UN Women's GRB programming seeks to transform planning and budgeting processes and policies to reflect responsiveness to principles of gender equality and make concrete changes in resource allocations towards women's priorities. To achieve this, UN Women emphasizes the importance of building multi dimensional partnerships with actors at national levels including a wide range of institutions starting with ministries of finance, national women's machineries, sectoral ministries, training institutions, parliaments, women's organizations and more broadly civil society organizations operating at policy or community levels.
At local level, UN Women has focused on supporting women's effective participation in budget processes, strengthening women's representations in local bodies, building awareness of gender budget analyses and advocating for adequate allocation towards local women's priorities. UN Women's Local Level Gender Responsive Budgets program (LLGRB), supported by the European Commission, (2003 - 2006) provided support to local initiatives in India, Morocco, Uganda and the Philippines with a view to redress biases contributing to poverty and gender inequality. Other leading experiences of local level gender responsive budgeting initiatives have been supported in Latin America Region specifically in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil and UN Women is currently implementing a programme to support gender equitable local development in Africa in collaboration with UNCDF and UNDP.
As at end of 2011, UN Women is supporting GRB work in 65 countries national and/or local level:
Asia Pacific and Arab States:
Central and Eastern Europe:
Commonwealth of Independant States:
Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova
Latin America and the Caribbean:
Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Haiti, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
PARTNERSHIPS WITH UN AGENCIES, MULTILATERAL ORGANIZATIONS AND ACADEMIA
The GRB portfolio of UN Women includes programmes that forged partnerships with other UN agencies or multi-lateral agencies to articulate sector or issue-specific GRB application in line with the respective mandates (e.g. employment with ILO, reproductive health with UNFPA, local governance and decentralization with UNCDF).
UN Women has further sought to build strategic partnerships with think tanks and academic institutions and individuals to support the expansion of the technical aspects of GRB through collaboration wiith IDRC, FLACSO, and national Universities such as Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, the Academy of Economic Studies in Moldova. UN Women has opened channels to dialogue with institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, regional development banks, and OECD, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the African Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
UN Women has engaged in global and regional advocacy towards GRB as early as 2001 when UN Women collaborated with the Government of Belgium as President of the European Union, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Nordic Council to hold an international conference on GRB. This conference endorsed the vision of implementing gender-responsive budget initiatives in all countries by 2015 (Brussels conference communiqué). Since then, the Commonwealth Finance Ministers in 2002 and 2005 committed to integrating gender in their respective budget formulation processes and to establish institutional mechanisms within their countries to monitor progress on implementing GRB. Similarly, the 2004 Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting of senior government officials from the Ministries of Finance and Women's Divisions from the East African Region called for policies ensuring that gender aspects are considered when making budgets and allocating resources. UN Women's programming on GRB has received financial support from the governments of Belgium, Canada, the European Commission, Italy, and the UK, as well as from partner UN organizations.
In recent years these advocacy efforts have focused on linking the aid effectiveness agenda with the far-reaching commitments that countries have made to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. The EC/UNIFEM conference "Owning Development: Promoting Gender Equality in New Aid Modalities and Partnerships" (Brussels, November 2005), was amongst the first multi-stakeholder gatherings to review and debate the issue of accelerating progress on gender equality and development cooperation in the context of the new aid modalities. Since that time, a number of convenings have taken place on this issue, including a joint meeting of the OECD-DAC Gender Network and the UN Inter-agency Network on Gender Equality (Nairobi, 2006) and the OECD workshop on “Development Effectiveness In Practice: Applying The Paris Declaration To Advancing Gender Equality, Environmental Sustainability And Human Rights” (Dublin, April 2007). UN Women has sponsored a series of regional consultations on Gender equality in New Aid Modalities in Burundi, Zambia and Indonesia which contributed to building knowledge about the country experiences in implementing gender responsive aid modalities.
As a result, GRB is increasingly recognized as a critical tool in the process of monitoring accountability of the aid effectiveness agenda to women. Furthermore, the Secretary General report to the Fifty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (February 2008) “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women” identified gender responsive budgeting as an effective approach to realize the calls for integrating a gender perspective in the design, development, adoption and execution of all budgetary processes and ensure the need for resources to achieve the strategic objectives relating to each critical area of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action.
UN Women has made a substantive contribution to the understanding of GRB and its application over the past ten years by developing a number of cutting edge knowledge products increasingly cited and considered as standard setting resources on GRB. UN Women also maintains the only website exclusively devoted to GRB (www.gender-budgets.org). The portal launched in 2001 is widely used by practitioners and represents a comprehensive database of GRB country initiatives and relevant resources. UN Women also facilitates a process for South-South knowledge sharing through study tours, translation and dissemination of various knowledge products.